When you listen to tomorrow's episode of the podcast with sports journalist Joon Lee, you'll quickly realize I'm not there and Andrew is flying solo.
That's because I was on a road trip at the time of the recording and had accidentally booked myself an overnight in the eastern Oregon town where all those crazy ranchers formed a millita and took over the wildlife refuge a few years ago ('Murica). As I rolled in and unpacked my car, there were vaguely menacing muscle dudes hanging out in the motel office, someone had decided to yell "Show Me State!" at me (which is where my car is tagged) while I loaded out my vehicle, and a dude eating a Big Mac outside my door was muttering to his Mom about the battle between Satan and Jesus. It's important to note that his Mom was not anywhere to be seen.
This is really a tale for another blog, so I'll leave the moral of the story at: Don't go to Burns, Oregon. it's scary, and the internet is really bad - which is why I didn't end up being able to log in to record this episode.
Do They Have A Course For Sports Talk?
Flash forward to this weekend, and I'm reviewing the show for social media content. About 5 minutes in, Andrew and Joon may as well have been speaking another language, because I swear I didn't understand anything they were referencing. Here's the quick list of what I heard:
Some dude named Jimmy Garappolo, a Superman reference, The Herd, being with Colin and some other guys, a "story" Joon was interested in, and some association with Tom Brady,
They never really explain wtf they are talking about, so I, Jess Ryan, actor and director, tap dancer and last person picked for every sports team ever am here to fill in the blanks.
Strap on your seatbelt.
Ok, Jimmy Garappolo apparently is a young football player who was on The Patriots (that's a football team, GOD I AM SMART) and was being talked about as the "next Tom Brady". If you're not familiar, that means he's good looking and really good at throwing a ball. Maybe the best next to TB. During a bye week (that means no game that week, BOW At MY FEET) he was unexpectedly traded away to the Niners (another football team, I'M SO SPORTY).
As all this was happening, Joon realized he really didn't know much of anything about this guy whose career he'd been following and whom he admired. As he says in the episode:
"As much as we love talking about athletes and putting them on pedestals, I think a lot of people forget that these guys are people too. And their personalities often directly reflect, in one form or another, their production on the field. Or often comes to reflect their production and personality on the field."
He got me with that one. What an interesting and insightful thought.
I dove into researching Jimmy.
Here's the important bits, as far as I can see:
* He has a Superman chin (hence the reference in the episode... I'm starting to get it now)
* Joon Lee is the most relevant sportswriter of our time. He single-handedly references Graduation-era Kanye, K Swiss, bro-squads and a porn star in one epic article on Jimmy in Bleacher Report. Did I understand the other sports stuff? No. Did I care? Nope. It was massively fun to read.
* I'm obsessed with the Bleacher Report brand design. It's slick, it's cool and it's bold. The layout of this article makes my eyeballs so happy. (She's not here for the sports, folks.)
* The photo of the Garappolos house hunting in Northern California makes that family look like some kind of freakish Venture Capital-meets-Sopranos-meets-The First Family to Die on The Walking Dead suburb gang. My family did not look like that, but I guess I have goals for the next life...
I'm not going to punish you with any kind of real re-cap of what Joon dug up on Garappolo, but if you are actually interested in this stuff (and it really is a great article), you can read the whole thing here.
Luckily for you, me and everyone else I know, the rest of the episode is an incredibly inspiring conversation about being an outsider, changing the entire course of an industry and what it feels like to be 24 years old and be a part of ground-breaking representation on the other side of sports - the people telling the stories of the athletes. I was super sorry to miss out on this recording, I think Joon's amazing and I can't wait to see what he does in career.
Want to hear more about Joon's career, representation in sports journalism and more?
☕️ New Episodes Thursdays